It was a normal day. I was messing around on Instagram stories, like usual, when something unexpected happened. I got a DM from a male business owner in town and he was mad about me and what I was doing.
I’m the creator of a podcast with the strong focus on women empowerment and I’m a confidence coach for women – and women only. With that being said, a lot of my content on social media, and a lot of the work I do, is for and with women.
His message basically said: “What you’re doing is cool, but I don’t like how you only help women. Men struggle with these things, too. You need to be more considerate of the men in your life.”
That message felt like a knife twisting in my gut.
It felt like everything I had worked so hard to produce to uplift women was wrong. Every day crafting a blog post, every hour editing a podcast episode, every minute writing the perfect Instagram caption. Was I doing it all wrong?
In the past, equality for women was really messed up. In the mid-1800s, women were expected to get married and have kids – and that’s it. In the 1950s, women got an option to work. They could now get a job. But when they had kids (not if), they were expected to quit to raise their family.
In my perspective, women empowerment is not an aggressive and dominating thing. I am not coming from a place that says, “I am woman, hear me roar.” The intention is not to squash the fingers of men in my life. I am not here to compete with men or elbow my way to fame or notoriety.
Yet, I want to see women rise.
The 2019 Fortune 500 List was published but only 33 of those 500 companies had female CEOs. While that is more than ever before in history, to me, it’s a little disappointing.
I’m grateful that I have a place at the table. I’m grateful that I can vote, work, open a bank account, own property. I am grateful for the women before who have paved the way to create an equal playing field for me and for you. But I will not stop fighting to see women rise. I refuse to settle, refuse to quiet down and refuse to give up until women are equally represented in all aspects of life.
I also want to say this to my male readers: The women around you need strong men. I need men in my life who are not threatened by my ambition. I need men who are supportive of me. Men who feel secure in who they are and what they are doing. Men who encourage women to chase their dreams.
So fathers, support your daughter when she says she wants to be the next president. Brothers, listen to your sister when she wants to work for Apple, Google or Facebook. Husbands, support your wife if she wants to step out and start her own business. Men, you will not be stepped on if you allow a woman in your life to shine.
There is enough room for both men and women to shine in this world. ￼
Sarena Hess is a confidence coach for women and motivational speaker. The views expressed are her own.